Chef David Bevan with the graduation lunch charcuterie

Captain Charcuterie

June 10, 2022
Chef David Bevan, a creative force in the Heilman Dining Center kitchen, retiring after 20 years
If you’ve ever attended the annual graduation lunch at the Heilman Dining Center, you’ve had a taste of how our staff bakers and chefs can pull out all the stops. It’s as if each station is competing against the rest; there’s a carving station, over the top desserts, and the legendary charcuterie display, which winds its way around the salad bar ending in an ice carving atop a mountain of cold, fresh, shrimp cocktail. For the past fifteeen years, the chef behind the graduation lunch and this pinnacle display has been David Bevan.
Watching Bevan orchestrate the building of the charcuterie was akin to observing a sculptor at his trestle. With Sous Chef Chris White, multiple cooks, and a team of interns at the ready, Bevan called out for cheese and garnish for the course of an hour before the finishing touches were applied. As the line was completed, the phones came out, and the display was recorded for social media, and for posterity. With his retirement, someone other than Chef Bevan will be doing the charcuterie next year. Captain Bevan will be boating somewhere on an English canal.
As a child in Manchester, England, Bevan remembers two culinary influences: the cookery class in grade school and watching his mother in her kitchen. Things were tight, but his mother’s creativity at stretching the family finances was memorable.
 
“You know those canned hams you get that are supposed to look the shape of a ham? That was a big treat. I don’t know how my mom shaved it so thin, but she could make it fill sandwiches for the whole road.”
 
Bevan admits he didn’t go hungry, but he wasn’t indulged.
 
“Now, I almost food react to what I couldn’t have when I was a child. So, if I couldn’t have a tangerine when I was small, I’ll buy a bag of tangerines now and eat the whole bag, quite happily. I love fruit. I can eat pounds of fruit in one go.”
 
And cheese.
 
“I’ve been teased about how much I purchase for the charcuterie display, but we have to do it up right! I always look forward to the graduation lunches because it’s the celebration of four years for our students and their families. It’s a big deal for our graduates.”
 
Jerry Clemmer, Executive Director of Business Services, notes that Bevan’s passion for providing the very best for UR’s students often went beyond food. When Clemmer started in 2005, he remembers bonding with Bevan over their background in hotels. Over the years, he says, Bevan led significant improvements like the dining hall renovation in 2006 and creative food concept stations such as the gyro station, giant paella station, and paninis grilled to order.
 
“Dave poured his heart into numerous events from the ‘70s theme dinner with the MASH tent, to the Italian Godfather station, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show station. We even chopped bamboo from a local neighbor's yard to decorate the beach party! Dave gave everything he had to both the back and front of house and just made incredible memories for our students and staff.  His talent is second to none.”
 
Of his proudest moments, Bevan lists the first International Education Dinner as his favorite.
 
“I did the menu research for the Danish dinner, and we made sure that everything on it was genuinely Danish. All the ingredients were genuinely Danish, even the butter was genuinely Danish. I worked with Josh Wroniewicz sourcing everything, and he was brilliant – even getting Danish candy from private vendors. The Danish Ambassador attended and was very impressed. International Education even gave us an award – so I’m very proud of my efforts there.”
 
Above all this, Clemmer believes that Bevan will be most remembered for his big heart and love for fellow employees.  
 
“I have personally seen him laugh, cry, hug, and care for his employees,” Clemmer says.  “When they needed anything, he would work with them so they would be okay.  He did these things without any recognition or bragging.”
 
Clemmer adds, “David Bevan’s career leaves a considerable legacy, and he has made a tremendous impact. It was my honor and pleasure to work with such a consummate professional, and caring person. He will be missed.”

If actions do indeed speak louder than words, the staff of the Heilman Dining Center would wholeheartedly agree. At the graduation lunch, the bakers created profiteroles in the form of swans, each pastry floating on a stream of sweetness, partially in honor of Bevan and his “swan song” graduation lunch.
 
In retirement, David Bevan plans to move back to Britain, buy a wide-beam canal boat, and live out his days floating in the English countryside with his wife Kim. A very serene, swan-like peace and quiet that is well-deserved.